After several days of eating, drinking and celebrating, Jonas and Silvia’s wedding day finally arrived. It was a civil wedding, but they’d booked a spectacular venue – The Consell de Cent (Consejo de Ciento), the Council of the Hundred. Not long after the reconquest of Northern Spain (from the Moors) the kingdoms of Aragon and Cataluña were joined by marriage – their government council was formed in 1249 (by King Jaume I) and from 1337 sat in this chamber until 1714, when it was abolished by Phillip V of Spain.
The Consell de Cent is housed in the Casa de la Cuitat (City Hall), which has a more modern, neoclassical façade (it looks good at night when the square’s not full of tourists). The Casa de la Cuitat is on one side of Plaça Sant Jaume, opposite the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya – in Roman times this square was the site of the Forum.
According to Catalan tradition the groom is given away by his mother. Silvia was given away by her nephew. The service was in Catalan, but there was no mistaking Jonas’ affirmation when he was asked if he took Silvia to be his wife – he replied with an extremely loud, “Si!”
It had rained heavily overnight and was still spitting at 10.30 when we arrived for the wedding, but by the time we came out the rain had stopped, much to everyone’s relief. It is customary here to throw rose petals or rice. On the whole, most of the ceremony seemed quite similar to an English wedding, but here there are no bridesmaids.
There was a short break between the wedding and the reception. most of which was spent toasting the happy couple in Almirall Bar, which is quite literally downstairs from the flat where I’d spent my first two weeks in Barcelona back in 1991. The reception itself, was in The Hidden Factory, opposite and just down Joaquin Costa from the Almirall. I know the street well but had no idea that behind what looked like a door to an atelier, there lurked an old garment factory on several floors, literally sandwiched between two shops with apartments above.
The reception started with cava and some more toasting.
We were present with beautiful looking appetiser platters of cheese, ham, figs, etc.
Little platters of croquetas arrived,
along with foie gras
and a vegetarian pastry containing roasted peppers.
I sneaked up to the top table before having a look at the kitchen.
I don’t remember the head count, but there must have been about 50 guests.
The chefs were hard at work trying to get all the dishes to the table.
The meat course, pork, was bubbling away, unusually, in a paella pan.
When it arrived at the table, it was sitting on a bed of mash with crispy vegetable chips.
Here even the bread looked special.
There were two puddings – chocolate mousse
or fresh fruit and flowers on a sweet brioche like bread. Anyone feeling greedy could have had both!
You will be unsurprised when I say I drank quite a few glasses of Coto de Hayas, a Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Campo de Borja.
Following the lavish reception we retired to the first floor at about 6.00pm, for live music, dancing and a considerable amount of drinking (until we were kicked out at 1.30 in the morning). Jonas and Silvia were insistent that everyone go back to their place for more! A small group of us thought that an additional party might be too much of an imposition, so after a night cap of vodka at Betty Ford’s we took our leave. It was quite an extraordinary day and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a happier couple!
…and the song of the day was, A Better Place by Stereo Explosion.